If you have not checked out the Hunger-Free Lancaster County’s Fifth Annual Report to the Community, you can read it here. This grassroots coalition of about 40 nonprofit, for profit, faith-based, government and grassroots organizations is committed to one mission: ensuring sustainable access to three health meals a day for all Lancastrians.
With 115 partners and programs (including 42 brick and mortar pantries), the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank (CPFB) sources a great deal of the product in Lancaster County’s charitable food network. In this pandemic year, Lancaster County product distribution increased by nearly 43% — 6,621,434 pounds this year versus 4,622,851 pounds in 2019.
As always, what makes the real difference in the health and lives of families is the quality of that food. This year, the food banks and pantries increased by 70% the pounds of fresh produce, dairy, and fruits that they distributed in Lancaster County. These “Foods to Encourage” included produce (1.5 million pounds), fruit, fresh and lean proteins (including 900,000 pounds of meat), dairy (including 800,00 pounds of loose milk, cheese, and yoghurt) and whole grains.
Much of this food was packed by food bank volunteers in 28,000 Crisis Response Boxes (CRBs) that have been distributed in Lancaster County since the outbreak. These approximately 30-pound CRBs will continue to be distributed at least until the end of March 2021. The United States Department of Agriculture has also contributed, distributing 34,500 in Lancaster County since the spring. All of these boxes contain produce and food products source from local farms. Sadly, that program is finished at the end of December.
The critical work of making sure that healthy food is available for all who need it is done primarily by seven social service hubs and their partners located strategically throughout Lancaster County. Despite the new pressures and safety challenges, these Hubs continue to do what they do best: effectively engaging in community-based poverty elimination and health improvement strategies that work.
The Lancaster County Hubs are:
- Pequea Valley/New Holland Hub
- Northern Lancaster Hub
- Elizabethtown Area Hub
- Solanco Family Life Network
- Columbia Life Network
- Lancaster County Food Hub
- Community Action Partnership of Lancaster County
This has been a challenging year for everyone. We want to thank all of the Hubs and other HFLC partners for the hard work and commitment of their staffs and volunteers throughout this long and challenging year.